Laos losing billions from financial leaks, tax evasion: PM

The government will modernise revenue collection system at more border crossings to boost national income. - VT

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Billions of kip have been lost due to financial leaks and the evasion of tax/tariff payments at border crossings, government leaders have learned.

Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh told the National Assembly that the data provided by the sector responsible stated that Laos imports 1,200 million litres of fuel a year.

But figures provided by Thailand and Vietnam indicated that they sold 1,900 million litres of fuel to Laos annually, meaning that 700 million litres was smuggled into the country.

The premier said taxes and tariffs on this amount of fuel was not paid, with some officials and importers conspiring to avoid payments, which was facilitated by weak management on the part of the government.

National Assembly members have expressed concern about the huge amount of money that has been misappropriated, stressing that officials who have embezzled state funds must be punished in line with the law.

Vice President of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and NA member for Vientiane, Valy Vetsaphong, called for the government to plug loopholes that have the potential to create financial leaks.

“If we can tackle the problem of financial leaks, I feel sure that our country will have more money with which to repay debts,” she said.

The government has announced that it will impose stronger measures to handle financial leaks and increase the revenue earned from imported products, notably construction equipment, electrical devices, consumer goods, and fuel.

The Minister of Finance, Bounchom Ubonpaseuth, said the government will modernise tax/tariff informing processes and link import-export information into a system which can be inspected transparently and accountably.

Just recently, the government has begun piloting the use of a computerised system to regulate four major import-export companies in Laos.

As a result, the income collected from just one of the four companies has increased from 4 billion to 13 billion kip.

In addition, the TaxRIS system has been employed to regulate fuel imports at more border crossings as part of the government’s efforts to tackle tax evasion.

Individuals and small retailers have been told to provide detailed tariff information to authorities at every border crossing, causing authorities to collect 312 billion kip.

The government is also attempting to address the issue of the non-payment of taxes on imported vehicles.

Over the past five months, the government has amassed 314 billion kip in taxes and fees paid on 20,773 vehicles.

In addition, it is expected that 77 billion kip will be earned from taxes paid on 9,698 vehicles in the past six months.

This year, the government has set a revenue collection target of 31,593 billion kip.

Over the past five months, more than 10,633.89 billion kip has been collected, accounting for 33.66 percent of the target set for 2022.

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Laos , tax , evasion , finances , smuggling , losses


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